Chilean-born Leopoldo Méndez moved to Stockholm, Sweden, in 1986. He was raised in a modest family struggling to achieve a better future, sometimes getting in trouble while walking around immigrant slums. After joining a counseling institution called Fasta and meeting sound engineer Jordi Fuste, DJ Méndez started his career as a Latin rapper, making his live debut in a local festival. Mixing hip-hop and traditional Latin American rhythms, he was able to get a record deal, soon climbing charts in Sweden, Norway, Scandinavia, Denmark, Finland, and even Russia with his first hit "Chiki-Chiki," featured in his debut album Latino for Life. In March 2001 DJ Méndez visited his native country, carrying out a successful promotional tour.